Friday, 26 December 2014

Cut a swathe

Running up the logging road south of our wooden hamlet, I stopped to take a photograph; low mist and bright sunlight made for striking images. I was dismayed to have left the camera`s memory card at home. I was also dismayed that I was dismayed ! but I`d got into the habit of sharing these runs through the immediacy of photographs rather than through words.
Moving on, at three road junction or thereabouts, I decided to follow the faint trail that offered itself as alternative to the all too familiar forest roads. I thought I`d explored this years ago, found it to be a dead end. However, as I could have confused this with memories of other blind alleyways and dead end trails, the possibility of owning another way onto the high drovers` road spurred me on. 
The track was faint, more a roe deer way. No mountain bike tyre prints, no room for, or sign of, land-rover double imprints in the mud. It snaked its way along the hollow of the cleft between the forested hills. Maybe at one time, maybe for millennia, this pathway had been the direct way up from our bend in the Tweed and onto the high moorland...     Anyway, I walked up, pulling larch and spruce branches aside, winding up the uneven, tussocked ground; the heather clumps and pale green dougall-ish grass. I moved amongst bright forest greens, outlined in frost, (refreshing to see in a land all gone pastel and dead). At one point there was a clustered planting of bright Juniper bushes, outgrown their plastic protective chrysalis. Cherry and birch stood dormant in a stretch of wet ground over the hidden burn meandering a parallel route.
I thought about paths and ways; that they need to have a purpose if they are to thrive. This one had lost its way as the larger, utilitarian and ugly access roads had asserted themselves upon the landscape. And yet, as I reached the top, and found it to emerge close by the Southern Upland Way, I could see it had potential, again, as short cut up to the views, to the high watersheds flowing down west and  south.  
So next time I run this trail I`ll bring a camera (with memory card) and I`ll also bring secateurs, to cut a modest swathe through the plantings that have insinuated themselves along the way, in the years since the trail was last used regularly.